Daylesford is a haven of mineral springs and natural spas, only 80 minutes from Melbourne. The quiet town enjoys all the sophisticated city pleasures of Victoriaâ€™s capital and has long been considered an artistsâ€™ retreat. Unlike Melbourneâ€™s bustling streets, Daylesford provides respite from the crowds, with the possibility to escape into the bush or sit back with a glass of local wine at a farm-to-table restaurant. There are quite a few holiday rental options in and around Daylesford, including bungalows on the outskirts, quaint cottages and family homes off the main street.
Springs, Spas and Waterfalls
Daylesford is located at the heart of Australiaâ€™s premier mineral spring region. Visitors come to Daylesford firstly to experience these healing waters for themselves and partake in a number of spa treatments, in the town and in neighbouring Hepburn Springs, only 3km from Daylesford. If you would like to try the mineral water, there are multiple pumps throughout town that dispense local, natural water for free.
In addition to the springs, the Daylesford area is known for its waterfalls. Head over to the Wombat State Forest, home to the famous Trentham Falls, only a short drive from the town centre. Trentham Falls are some of the tallest in Victoria and provide the perfect setting for a family picnic, with plenty of surrounding hiking trails to choose form.
Food and Wine
The Daylesford area benefits from extremely fertile soil, which translates to some of the freshest produce in Australia. The townâ€™s restaurateurs take full advantage of this and travellers have a wide range of options when it comes to sampling local produce. Farm-to-table establishments are the standard, with pubs and high end restaurants also focusing on organic dishes.
Every Sunday, the Daylesford Sunday Market provides the opportunity to sample local flavours or purchase a wide range of other goods, from clothes to collectibles. On the first Saturday of every month, you may pick your own food and meet the areaâ€™s farmers.
In addition to food, local wine is a Daylesford staple, with four wineries a short distance from town: Passing Clouds, Sailors Falls Estates, Ellender Estate and Fontanella Vineyards. Travellers can either explore the vineyards by themselves or join a wine tour.
Out in the Bush
Daylesford is set in the bush, allowing visitors to spend their days undisturbed in the wilderness if they so choose. Venture over to the protected state parks in the area, like Hepburn Regional Park, on your own or as part of a tour. There are guided tours for every interest, including wildflower tours, train rides through historic sites, vehicular tours, secret forest tours and even ghost tours. While out in the bush, keep your eyes peeled for local species, such as wallabies, wombats and koalas.
Arts and Culture in Daylesford
Being a scenic spot, it is hardly surprising that artists have chosen to settle and work in Daylesford for years. Visitors can reap the benefits of their choice simply by strolling through the town centre, where they will find many art galleries and exhibitions. Daylesford Convent Gallery showcases work by local artists. Here, you can discover artwork produced by European and Koori painters, sculptors and glass workers among other creative professionals. Most of the artists open their studios to the public, which is a great way to purchase a unique souvenir.
Getting to Daylesford
Daylesford is easily accessible. You can either drive the 115km from Melbourne or take public transport. If you opt for the train and bus, make sure you check the schedule and plan in advance, as the route and timetable may vary.
For more travel information, see our Things to do in Daylesford article.